By People Staff
December 07, 1981 12:00 PM

by Sharon DeLano and David Rieff

Because of the fancy art direction, this book looks like one of those pop exploitation gimmicks designed to cash in on a current fad. The surprise is that the text is completely serious, with a thoughtful introduction by Dallas department store mogul Stanley Marcus, and includes the kind of information that comes only from serious research. For instance, all that fancy stitching up the boot, now done by computers, sometimes is there for a purpose: to keep the leather from falling like a limp stocking. The illustrations, especially the Russell Lee and Erwin Smith photographs of real cowboys, remind us how far Hollywood took us from the real thing. The great bootmakers of Texas—Lucchese in San Antonio, Justin in Fort Worth and Tony Lama in El Paso—are profiled, and it is clear that the making of custom boots is a craft that’s far from dying out. The authors, both New York editors (Rieff is writer Susan Sontag’s son), prove that reading about cowboy boots and looking at them is a lot more fun than wearing the danged things. (Penguin, $12.95)